5 Steps to convert Facebook likes to paying customers

By Viraj Nikam


“With our Facebook Pages ad announcing a big sale at our retail store, we are getting lots of “likes” but no sales.

Sounds familiar?

 Believe it or not, this is a scenario that a lot of retail businesses face. Be it Facebook Ads or Google Adwords the problems are the same.

Here are a few things I would recommend for converting new Likes into paying customers:

1. Adjust Your Targeting Options

If I were this business owner the first thing I would do is look at the targeting options for my ad to ensure I’m reaching people with the means to purchase from me.

facebook targeting options example

Example of some of your Facebook ad targeting options.

Assuming that this retailer is located in the United States, and given that they have an online store, I would suggest targeting anyone within the U.S. I would not target anyone outside of the U.S. While an online store means you could probably sell to those people, shipping rates are likely to be incredibly high and would likely cause people to abandon the online shopping cart.

I would also make sure I’m targeting people with clear interest in my products. Unfortunately, someone simply Liking your Facebook Page off of an ad doesn’t indicate a strong intent to purchase. Some people Like hundreds of Facebook pages just because they have a passing interest in that company or topic.

Using Facebook’s targeting options I would be sure to limit my ads to only people who have indicated interest in my industry. For example if I were selling coffee beans I would make sure my ads are targeted at people who are interested in coffee and coffee related brands. By doing this you vastly increase your odds of reaching people with a strong interest and a strong intent to purchase.

Using Facebook’s new Partner Categories you can even target people based on their past purchasing behaviours. For example, a coffee company can target people who have purchased coffee before and they can also target people who have an affinity for buying things online.

Ads that use Partner Category tagging are more expensive than ads that use traditional targeting, but the extra money ensures you’re reaching the right audience.

2. Engage Your Users with Content

Once I’m as positive as possible that the new Likes I’m receiving are coming from my target audience based on location, interest and/or past purchasing behaviour, it now becomes imperative to start engaging those people with content.

It’s not enough to simply post a link to your Facebook Page once a day linking users to your website.

First, this is problematic because a lot of the people who recently Liked your page are unlikely (for lack of a better word) to even see your posts due to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm.

The EdgeRank algorithm determines if your posts show up in someone’s newsfeed. The more a person engages with your posts the more likely you are to show up in their newsfeed because Facebook sees that the things you are publishing are relevant and interesting to that person.

Since your new Likes have just started following your page, it’s not likely that they have engaged with your posts a whole lot yet. You need to earn their engagement through high quality posts.

According to the EdgeRank algorithm certain type of Facebook posts hold more weight than others. For example, posts that include pictures are more likely to show up in newsfeed over simple links or text posts.

example facebook post using a picture

Great example of a Facebook promotional post using a captivating image.

This means that you should start engaging your new audience with image posts. The copy you use along with your image post can (and should) include a link to your website or landing page.

That image should be vibrant and eye-catching so that it stands out in a crowded newsfeed.

Just using a vibrant image post may not be enough at first though because, as mentioned before, EdgeRank shows posts to people who have engaged with you in the past and you have little history with your new audience.

To really increase the odds of getting your message in front of your new audience, while increasing your engagement, you may need to promote your post. Promoting a post essentially turns the post into an ad. You pay to ensure that the post is seen in people’s newsfeeds.

Example of promoting a post on Facebook

Example of promoting a post on Facebook.

You may be thinking, “what? I already paid to get them to Like my page, why should I pay again?” unfortunately, this is how the strategy usually has to work itself out. The good news is, by promoting your posts now, you’re likely to start creating a history of engagement with your audience, ensuring that your posts will organically start appearing in their newsfeeds in the future.

3. Evaluate Your Website Statistics

Another really important aspect of any Facebook advertising campaign is knowing how people are behaving after they click a link either directly in your ad or through one of your Facebook Page posts.

You’ll need to log into Google Analytics or some other web analytics provider to find this information.

Example of stats in Google Analytics

Example of Facebook traffic stats in Google Analytics

Knowing your stats is really important because an “e-commerce site that works” is an objective statement. Just because your checkout process technically works doesn’t mean it’s working at converting your visitors. You really have to think about usability standards along with consumer psychology and conversion rate optimization.

Under Traffic Sources look for Facebook and evaluate the following data points:

  • Number of visitors
  • Bounce rate
  • Average pages visited per session
  • Average time on site
  • Goals completed

The number of visitors you are receiving through the Facebook traffic source should be growing now that you’re running Facebook ads and generating new Likes. If this number hasn’t grown then you know that your content is engaging your audience and enticing them to click-through to your website. If this is the case you should try posting different types of content to your Facebook Page.

Your bounce rate is a really important stat because it shows whether people find your site to be relevant to their interests. A high bounce rate means that people are clicking onto your site and finding it unappealing for some reason.

If this is the case you should readjust your Facebook ad targeting options and/or your content to make sure you are offering the right audience the right content.

Average pages visited per session is an important stat because it also shows whether people find your site to be relevant to their interests. If people are viewing multiple pages per visit and staying for an extended length of time, you know that your site is really relevant to their interests – and even if they didn’t make a purchase this time, if you stay top of mind with these visitors, they are likely to purchase from you at some time.

If your pages per visit is low and/or your pages per visit is high but average time on site is low, you know that your site isn’t relevant and just like with a high bounce rate, you need to make adjustments.

Perhaps one of the most important stats to look at in your analytics software is goal completions from the Facebook traffic source. Are people taking the right actions on your website? Are they adding an item to the shopping cart? Are they adding their contact information? Are they adding their billing information? What percentage have actually completed a purchase?

If your traffic is growing but visitors are not starting and/or not completing the checkout process then you know you need to do some optimization work on your website.

Remember, just because an e-commerce site technically works doesn’t mean it’s optimized for conversions.

4. Test Your Offer

If your analytics show that your traffic from Facebook isn’t increasing, it’s important to change up your posts, which includes testing different offers.


Facebook Offer Version A

Facebook Offer Version B

Facebook Offer Version B

You don’t necessarily need to change your offer completely, you may just need to word it differently.

For example, if you’re currently writing, “Now through Friday get 30% off select items!” you could try being more specific. Using the coffee beans example, you might say “Today only, take 30% off all Columbian coffee beans!”

Trying different copy and images for your offer posts could really help drive more traffic to your website and more traffic means more opportunity for conversions.

5. Use a Trackable Promo Code

The final thing I would suggest to the person who wrote the Quora question is ensuring your Facebook offer posts include a promo code that can be used online/in stores.


You can use a promo code like in this example where it can be used online or printed out and brought in-store.

Since the person asking the question mentions a retail location, it’s important to be able to tell how many people came from Facebook directly into the brick-and-mortar location. Without using a trackable promo code or coupon, there really is no way to know how many sales you made because of your new Likes on Facebook.